After a week of brainbreaking labor, here it is at last: My Grand Statement on the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.
Granted, I don’t completely solve the mysteries of quantum mechanics in this lecture. I didn’t see any need to — since to judge from the quant-ph arXiv, those mysteries are solved at least twenty times a week. Instead I merely elucidate the mysteries, by examining two very different kinds of stories that people tell themselves to feel better about quantum mechanics: decoherence and hidden variables.
“But along the way,” you’re wondering, “will Scott also touch on the arrow of time, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Bell’s Inequality, the Kochen-Specker Theorem, the preferred-basis problem, discrete vs. continuous Hilbert spaces, and even the Max-Flow/Min-Cut Theorem?” Man oh man, is someone in for a treat.
I assume that, like Lecture 9, this will be one of the most loved and hated lectures of the course. So bring it on, commenters. You think I can’t handle you?
Update (4/5): Peter Shor just posted a delightful comment that I thought I’d share here, in the hope of provoking more discussion.
Interpretations of quantum mechanics, unlike Gods, are not jealous, and thus it is safe to believe in more than one at the same time. So if the many-worlds interpretation makes it easier to think about the research you’re doing in April, and the Copenhagen interpretation makes it easier to think about the research you’re doing in June, the Copenhagen interpretation is not going to smite you for praying to the many-worlds interpretation. At least I hope it won’t, because otherwise I’m in big trouble.